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Corporate Heritage Brands/Corporate Brand Orientation

This is a rare opportunity to be supervised by Professor John M.T. Balmer (the well-known corporate identity, branding, corporate marketing and corporate brand heritage scholars) who holds a personal chair in Corporate Marketing at Brunel Business School London and who co-created the corporate heritage brand notion as well as being the originator of the corporate brand orientation notion. He is interested in well-qualified and hard-working candidates who are interested in taking a PhD in corporate marketing one of the above areas. He is open to PhD proposals which (a) focus on the nature/implementation of a corporate brand ethos and as an institutional-wide culture or (b) which advance our theoretical understanding of corporate brand orientation as an organizational-wide ethos.

Candidates should hold a good first degree in a relevant subject area and, ideally, should have a good MSc degree in marketing/branding. Candidates should have excellent writing skills and should be self-motivated. A preference will be given to students who will be using qualitative/inductive methodologies but deductive approaches may also be considered

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a self funded topic

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: https://www.brunel.ac.uk/research/Research-degrees/Research-degree-funding. The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.

Meet the Supervisor(s)


John Balmer - Professor John M.T. Balmer holds a personal chair as Professor of Corporate Marketing  at Brunel Business School and his research, scholarship, and teaching focusses on the corporate marketing, corporate brand management, corporate identity, and corporate heritage fields. From 2010-2020 he was head of the Marketing and Corporate Brand Research Group at Brunel Business School. He is Quondam Professor of Corporate Brand/Identity Management at Bradford School of Management and is a Visiting Professor at the same school.He is also a Visiting Professor at the National University of Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), and Professor Balmer is also  an External Assessor to the Department of Marketing at the University of Malaya which is viewed as Malaysia's premier university.  He is Chairman of the Board of Senior Consultant Editors of the Journal of Brand Management. After a first degree from the University of Reading, and after a period of postgraduate study at The University of Durham in Education (University College), he spent a short time as a teacher and then as Assistant Administrator of Lord Menuhin's concert agency (Live Music Now). This was followed by several years as a senior manager of a major arts complex. Subsequently undertook further postgraduate studies, this time focussing on business administration (MBA) at Durham University (Collingwood College). Appointed to give recommendations apropos the British Broadcasting Corporation's (BBC Scotland)  corporate identity as a research assistant at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the University of Strathclyde and, subsequently, appointed as a  lecturer in marketing at Strathclyde Business School Professor Balmer took his PhD (Strathclyde University) in 1996, and within three years of his PhD graduation was elected to a personal chair as Professor of Corporate Identity at Bradford University School of Management. He subsequently was conferred the title of Professor of Corporate Brand/Identity Management in the same University in recognition of his seminal scholarship on both territories. In a similar vein, in 2007, he joined the faculty at Brunel University London where he was appointed to a personal chair as Professor of Corporate Marketing.  Thus Professor Balmer has the unique distinction of holding the first full professorships in corporate branding, corporate identity, corporate brand/identity management. and corporate marketing. Since the early 1990s, he has been a leading proponent, and tireless advocate, of the strategic importance of corporate identity, corporate brand management, corporate marketing and, more recently corporate heritage.  Professor Balmer is known for his seminar articles on the above areas. He is also recognised for his work on the British Monarchy (and monarchies generally); the BBC, British Airways and for his ACID Test of corporate brand/corporate identity management. As a lecturer at Strathclyde University, in the early 1990s he led the first branding exercise of the University which led to the common use of a heraldic shield along with the naming of the University's city campus "The John Anderson Campus" in honour of the institution's founder. Subsequently, he conceived and oversaw the corporate brand positioning of the University of Strathclyde including having oversight for the process involved in the introduction of a full achievement of arms and motto ("Useful Learning") from the Court of Lord Lyon at the time of the University of Strathclyde's bi-centenary celebrations in 1996. He also had oversight of a special Congregation of the University (including ceremonial arrangements and music) during which the Letters Patent granting a full coat of arms was presented to the University's Chancellor by one of the Queen's heralds. His collaborative ground-breaking study of the Swedish Monarchy - where access, over several years, was granted to Their Majesties the King and Queen of Sweden and members of the Royal Family -  is also notable and led to a series of recommendations. His continued interest in monarchies as corporate brands has resulted in several articles on the territory. Additionally, he has contributed to articles published in The New York Times and the leading German newspaper Die Welt and has been approached by the Australian public service broadcaster ABC for their documentary on the Royal Family. At Brunel, Bradford, and Strathclyde Universities he conceived and developed courses in the corporate identity, corporate brand management, and corporate marketing fields. At Brunel University he was the Founding Director of the MSc in Corporate Brand Management. He oversaw the design and implementation for the current syllabus for the MSc in Corporate Brand Management. He is a passionate and consummate teacher and PhD supervisor.   Publications - Recognized as one of the world's top 2% of influential scholars (in a study of more than 100.000 scholars undertaken by  Stanford University), his published work has been cited more than 23,536 times and he has a google h-index of 57 and an i-10 index of 117. Currently, he has in excess of 464,360 reads on ResearchGate. On 28 occasions since March 2020 he achieved the greatest number of reads on Researchgate of any academic working at Brunel University London: (w/e  5 June 2022: 1757 reads). Furthermore, in most weeks, he has the greatest number of reads among Business School faculty. A long-time partnership with Professor Stephen A Greyser (Harvard Business School) resulted in many publications including the landmark book  "Revealing the Corporation" (Routledge: 2002).  Professor Balmer has published in many leading journals - often as a sole or as a lead-author  -including  California Management Review, British Journal of Management, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Business Ethics,   Long Range Planning,  Marketing Theory, Information Technology & People, International Studies of Management and Organization,  Journal of Marketing Management. Journal of General Management, Journal of Brand Management etc. In 2017 Professor Balmer was invited by the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (editor: Professor Sir David Cannadine) to pen the authoritative biographical essay of Wally Olins (1930-2014) - doyen of the corporate identity/brand consultancy industry (OUP: 2018). His books include "Revealing the Corporation" (co-authored with Stephen A. Greyser, Routledge, 2003); "Foundations of Corporate Heritage" (Routledge, 2016);  "Advances in Corporate Branding" (co-edited with Dr Shuan Powell,  Professor  Joachim Kernstock & Professor Tim Brexendorf, Palgrave, 2017); "Advances in Chinese Brand Management" (co-edited with Weifeng Chen, Palgrave, 2017); "Contemporary Perspectives on Corporate Marketing" (co-edited with Professor Laura Illia & Allmudena de Valle Brena, Routledge, 2013); and "Contemplating Corporate Marketing, Identity & Communication" (co-edited with Professor Klement Podnar, Routledge, 2010). Of the 10 most cited articles in the European Journal of Marketing two are by Professor Balmer (one single and one jointly-authored article) viz: "Corporate identity, corporate branding and corporate marketing: seeing through the fog" and "Corporate brands: What are they? What of them?" Additionally, his single-authored article, "Corporate identity and the advent of corporate marketing" is the 10th most cited article in the Journal of Marketing Management.